When he performed, he certainly made an unforgettable entrance.  With his jacket and white sequined gloves, he already drew the attention of his audience.  When he sang with his powerful voice, it was simply electrifying.  Like his hit song, “Bad,” boy was Michael Jackson so good!  During his concerts, there was never a dull moment as fans danced and sang his lyrics.  Not only could Michael sing, he was also a professional dancer.  After Jackson executed the moonwalk, his signature dance move, his fans were amazed.  Much more than just a singer and dancer, Jackson was also an activist fighting to make the world better.  While some of his songs were simply entertaining, others had a more serious tone warning us to battle against the injustices of our society.

In his song, “Black or White,” he told the world to fight against racism and prejudice.“Man In The Mirror” is a profound song urging us to do what we can to improve the world and help others.  “Heal The World” is a song that describes all the pain and suffering in the world.  As a human race, we must strive to end the misery thus providing a better future for our children.  “Earth Song” is a very influential song that explains all the destruction that humanity has caused on our planet.  Michael was certainly an artist with a vision.  Not only is climate change an environmental issue today, it is also a political one.

Born on August 29, 1958 in Gary Indiana, Michael Joseph Jackson was the eighth of ten children.  He was raised in a very hard working African-American family. Jackson’s mother, Katherine Esther Seruse, dreamed of becoming a country and western performer.  She worked part-time at Sears to help her family.  Joseph Walter Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, was an ex-boxer.  He worked as a steelworker at the U.S. Steel.  He also performed with the Falcons band.  Since he came from a musically inclined family, Michael was destined to become a star.

Performing for the Jackson 5, formerly called the Jackson Brothers, Michael began his musical career singing with his brothers.  He was an adorable little boy who was already stealing the limelight from his older brothers with his stellar voice.  Since Michael was such a good vocalist, he was soon leading the group with his older brother Jermaine.  When Jackson 5 won a weekly amateur night concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in August 1967, the groups musical talent was recognized.  The group got their big break when there first four singles, “I Want You Back “(1969), ABC” (1970), “The Love You Save” (1970), and “I’ll Be There” (1970), were all number one hits on the Billboard 100.  “I’ll Be There” is a song that is still popular today.

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Michael Jackson, in the center, performs with his brothers in the Jackson 5. [Image from CBS Television/Wikimedia Commons]
Michael Jackson, in the center, performs with his brothers in the Jackson 5. [Image from CBS Television/Wikimedia Commons]

As a result of the success of the Jackson 5, the Jackson family was able to move away from their two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana to a spacious home on a two-acre property in Encino, California.  Together the Jackson family worked very hard to earn their success.

Since he was the greatest star of the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson was destined to have a career as a soloist.  Off the Wall (1979), Jackson’s fifth solo album, turned Michael into a reputable soloist performer.

Among many other successes, Michael’s biggest success was his sixth album, Thriller, which was launched in late 1982.  It became the best-selling album globally in 1983.  Beating all previous records, it turned into the best-selling album of all time in the U.S.  and the best-selling album of all time across the world.  It sold approximately 65 million copies.

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As Michael Jackson fans, we have all seen his video Thriller.  Michael sings about the supernatural and terrors of the night.  He also dances with monsters and many strange creatures.  This is by far his most creative video proving that the imagination can simply run wild.  “Thriller” has become a timeless song that is played at the majority of Halloween parties.

Since he never forgot his humble beginnings, success never spoiled Michael.  When he co-wrote the song, “We Are The World” (1985) with Lionel Richie, he remembered all the needy people around the world.  Michael wrote this beautiful song with Lionel Richie to aid those who are less fortunate.  All the proceeds of “We Are The World” went to the poor in the United States and in Africa.  In fact, this song earned an impressive sum of $63 million to feed the poor.  Since this touching charity song sold 20 million copies, it became one of the best-selling singles of all time that made a real difference in the world.

With such a giving heart, Michael’s charitable actions did not stop with the song, “We Are The World,” he also donated all the profits from “Man In The Mirror” to charity.  He also gave $455,000 to the United Negro College Fund from 1985 to 1990.  He even founded the Heal the World Foundation in 1992 to benefit the poor.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Michael supported 39 charities much more than any other performer ever.

As far as his personal life was concerned, Michael married two times.  In May 1994, Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of “the King of Rock and Roll.”  They secretly wed in the Dominican Republic.  Their marriage ended in divorce.  Michael also married, Deborah Jeanne Rowe, who was his nurse and friend, in Sydney Australia.  They both had two children: Michael Joseph Jr. who was born on February 13, 1997 and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson who was born on April 3, 1998.  They both divorced in 1999.  Later on, Michael had Prince Michael Jackson II who was born on February 22, 2002.

When Michael’s documentary film, This Is It, was released on October 28, 2009, his fans were delighted.  This was a movie about his rehearsals that gave his followers an intimate view of Michael’s true essence.  In this movie, you see how hard Michael works to deliver a top notch performance and also how well he treats all the people who work with him.  This Is It did very well at the box office with profits surpassing $260 million globally.

Unfortunately, This Is It would become Michael’s last performance.  While under the supervision of his doctor, Conrad Murray, Michael died on June 25, 2009.  The cause of his death was cardiac arrest which was triggered by propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication.  After an extensive investigation, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death as a homicide.  Conrad Murray, Michael’s personal doctor, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Worldwide fans mourned the death of the “King Of Pop.”  Paris Jackson, who was just 11 years old at the time of her father’s death, said, “Ever since I was born,” Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine…I just wanted to say I love him…so much.”

Not only did Paris love Michael, but the entire world also loved him.  Rather than divide people, his music helped to unite them.  Through his charitable works, he gave so much back to the less fortunate thus becoming an ambassador of goodwill.  Like in his hit song, “Beat It,” he fought against the injustices and stereotypes that faced African- Americans, as well as other minorities, in the music business.  He opened the doors for all of them to thrive as performers.  Much more than a musician, dancer and performer, he was also a champion for true change.